The wise fiance lets his bride make the final selection of the engagement ring. That’s because this ring is not only expensive, but it is one of the most precious and important pieces of jewelry that the bride will own. But if you are a romantic groom who wants to surprise the one you love, you’ll need a trusted guide to help you pick through the thousands of engagement ring options.
Whether the bride-to-be prefers vintage baubles or modern and showstopping Tiffany trinkets, here’s how to find a proposal-worthy engagement ring that you know is sure to please.
Engagement Ring Questionnaire
Before you make an expensive jewelry purchase, take time to answer these important questions about the bride. By filling out this quick questionnaire, you are almost guaranteed to make the perfect engagement ring purchase.
- What is the bride’s birth date? This will help you select the birthstone if this is the bride’s preference.
- What is the ring size? The last thing you want to do is buy the wrong size ring.
- What is the preferred diamond shape? Some brides prefer round stones, while some may like a fancy diamond shape like a heart or pear.
- What is her personality type or her profession? You want to select a ring that matches the bride’s style and her work life.
- What is the carat size, setting type, and setting karat weight? The best way to determine the answer to these questions is to look at your budget and your bride’s preferences. Typical wedding ring settings include: bezel, cluster, tension, pave, pronged, Tiffany-style, channel, and fishtail.
Become Friends with the 4C’s
The GIA or Gemological Institute of America created the 4C grading system for jewelers to judge and evaluate diamonds. The final price that you will pay for the engagement ring depends solely on your knowledge of the four c’s: carat, cut, color, and clarity.
- Carat – The carat refers to the weight of the stone, not its size or dimensions. Diamond weights are also measured in points, with one carat equaling 100 points. The average diamond purchased in the United States is 38 points – just over 1/3 of a carat.
- Cut – A diamond’s proportion, shape and cut determines its fire and brilliance. The cut is the most important factor in defining its beauty. Popular diamond cuts and shapes include: round, marquise, princess, pear, oval, and brilliant.
- Color – The GIA grades a diamond’s color starting with D (a flawless and colorless stone) and ending with Z (a progressively more yellow stone.) Diamond colors range from colorless and yellow, to black, red, blue, green, and lavender, but in general, the whiter the stone the better.
- Clarity – This designation refers to the lack of inclusions or blemishes in the stone – or how clear the diamond is. The fewer the imperfections in the stone, the more that it is worth. Most jewelry stores in the U.S. grade flaws according to the GIA clarity system. The classifications range from FL for flawless to I3 for imperfect.
Get Your Stone Certified and Insured
Don’t despair if you can’t tell a D-grade diamond from a Q – many stones will look the same to the naked eye. A diamond’s real value is in the differences that only a trained jeweler determines with his loupe.
For diamonds that are one carat or more, ask for the GIA Gem Trade Laboratory report to determine the stone’s authenticity. To make sure that you are buying the real deal, only buy your diamonds from a reputable jeweler. Make sure that the jeweler has verifiable evidence of his education and training. It’s good to ask recommendations from your family or friends; but also, consider how long the jeweler has been in business.
An engagement ring may get lost or stolen, so add the bauble to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy as soon as you purchase it.